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The Uses of Cooking Knives

Chef's Knife

The standard knife that should be in every kitchen, a chef’s knife is primarily for chopping, mincing and slicing meats, fruits and vegetables. The blade is 8 to 10 inches long and made out of stainless or high-carbon steel. The handle is wooden, metal or plastic. Chef’s knives are the workhorse of the kitchen, and cooks tend to spend a little extra money on this knife because of frequent use and to get the right fit for their hand.

Carving Knife

These knives have a long blade, averaging about 10 inches, and are used to carve large roasts such as turkey, ham or beef. A variation on the carving knife is the slicing knife, with a rounded or pointed tip. These knives have a slightly more flexible blade for cutting around bone. They work well making thin even slices of roast beef or pork without tearing the meat. They're typically paired with a long-handled fork for holding the meat in place.

Bread Knife

Also called a serrated knife, the bread knife is primarily for slicing bread loaves. The serrated edge cuts through bread crust easier than a smooth edge but also grips into softer loaves for slicing without mangling the bread. These knives are also helpful for slicing foods with delicate skins, such as tomatoes, without crushing them. These knifes are helpful in the kitchen but difficult to sharpen without taking them to a professional, so many cooks don’t spend a lot of money on them.

Utility Knife

Smaller than a chef’s knife but with a similar design, the utility knife allows for more finesse from the cook’s hand. Utility knife blades range from 4 to 7 inches with either smooth or serrated edges. These knives are useful for creating decorative garnishes, mincing herbs or slicing foods such as small fruits and olives. These can also double as paring knives for peeling oranges, potatoes or other foods.

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